“I really think we got him (Roberts) tired,” said Jaguars head Coach Roman Banks, who led Southern to its first win at Grambling (3-17, 3-7 SWAC) since 2000. “He can jump over you and shoot it, but you could see he didn’t have that lift and we made him work defensively.”
In the game played Saturday night in the Hobdy Assembly Center, Coach Banks ran several plays for Mike Celestin. Although he scored only 3 points on 1 of 5 shots, his role was vital in slowing the down the onslaught of Roberts.
In front of a crowd of about 4,000 people, Grambling led 16-0 and Roberts scored 21 of the Tigers’ 31 first half points and they led by 10. Roberts finished with 27 points and 5 rebounds.
Southern (12-11, 8-2 SWAC) couldn’t get anything going early in the first half as they went scoreless for the first four minutes. It wasn’t until Grace connected on 3-pointer that gave the Jaguars their first points and propelled a15-6 run for Southern. That tightened the score to 21-15.
Then Roberts scored eight of the Tigers last 10 points to close the half with him matching Southern’s total score of 21.
“Quincy Roberts was a one man show in the first half for us, which is great that’s exactly why I got him here,” said Coach Washington in a halftime interview with Grambling’s sports radio network. Roberts’ highlights show was cancelled due to the different looks and defenders Coach Banks threw at him.
After making his first few shots in the first half, five minutes would pass before he registered his next points.
“In the first half they played me man to man, so I was able to get to my own shot and create,” said Roberts. “In the second half they played more of a face guard zone so it was really hard to get my shot off.”
The Tigers offense became stagnant once Southern’s scheme to take Roberts out the game became successful. While Grambling’s offense stood still, the Jaguars whittled their way back in to the game and held a 34-33 lead after a 12-2 run early in the second half. Southern stretched their lead out to eight points with 9:01 remaining, but the Tigers battled back and went on their own 9-0 run regain lead with the score at 52-51.
Quietly, Grace made big plays for the Jaguars and it started with a go ahead layup with 3:21 left to play, which made the score 53-52. Since then Southern never trailed. Peter Roberson tied the game at 53 with a layup, but Grace answered with a bucket of his own.
With 13 seconds left Roberts missed a 3-pointer that would have forced the game in to overtime. Successful free throws by Southern secured them with a 57-53 victory and two games back of Mississippi Valley for first place of the South Western Athletic Conference.